Did you know that the Boston Red Sox sold Babe Ruth for a few hundred thousand dollars so an investor could get more money to angel "No No Nanette?" Did you know that ever since then, the Boston Red Sox have never won a world series and the Yankees have won 26? Did you know that when he played baseball Jim played catcher, that he lives in an overly expensive apartment in Brookline with two roomates, that he has two brothers, including one in the internet business who lives in the Boston area and the other one lives in Tempe, Arizona in a boring suburb? That Jim saw X Men 2 twice on Saturday (wish I had)? That he recommended a spin off movie now on video that is a follow-up film to Chasing Amy? (Can't think of the name now).
It was an amazingly quick trip from West 95th Street to Yankee stadium, maybe about 20 minutes. One very surreal moment when I had to run across the street after waiting on a long line to check my backpack in an anti-terrorism measure. The Yankees lost 2-0 in a tight pitchers' battle. With Jim's running explanations and frequent hilarious asides to people sitting by (Jim develops audiences wherever he goes) the game went by in a few minutes, though on the clock it was a few hours. Although Jim was interested in the game, he was not fascinated by it and I assumed this was because his beloved Red Sox were not there. Jim kept kibitzing with all the fans around him and they shared lots of baseball facts and lore. Jim was mostly interested in the stadium itself. It is a grand piece of architecture, breathtaking in its scope, and is rolled out all around you very regally from the perspective of the bleachers. It was a cool and very bright day with a light breeze. You could see every pitch very clearly from our vantage point. Even though I am no baseball adept I could call almost every pitch correctly. I could even see that the Oakland A's pitchers were using the strategy of intimidating the batters by throwing fastballs very close inside. Jim said yes this could scare the batters and that no one can help this reflex. In the 5th or 6th inning, one Yankee was hit and got a free single out of it. The sun came out and stayed for the day.
Every kid that went near Jim and could get a look at him seemed to know immediately what a baseball fan he is and seemed to want to talk with him and follow him around like a puppy. On the subway, I thought one kid was going to break away from his father and follow Jim off the train. As soon as we got off the train another kid started beaming at him! They all wanted to talk with him about baseball.As we descended the stairs from the bleachers after the sad ending of the 9th inning, Jim paused to look out at the enormous green expanse gleaming in the late afternoon sun. He loved this venerable stadium and couldn't stop admiring it. I stared out at the huge signs on the high back wall of the stadium and saw a gasoline ad with the letters HESS. I thought of Dave. Then I thought: if you have never seen that special look of joy on the face of someone in love with baseball you have not lived.
We came back to my apartment and had some more tea. Toni came home and talked with Jim about what is now hilariously known as "Nick's obsession with blogging." Several bloggers names came up in the course of the day including: Stephanie Young, Jonathan Mayhew, Jordan Davis, David Hess, Josh Corey, K Silem Mohammed, Catherine Meng, Tim Yu, Ron Silliman, Joe Massey, Andrew Mister, Sandra Simonds. Toni talked about her nephew Michael (for those of you who read this blog regularly, he's the one whose music I put up on two audio blogs awhile back.) Michael has decided to go to Emerson College and Toni asked Jim a lot of questions about it.
We then headed down to Central Park and Strawberry Fields. Jim's never been there. Then we took a slow "C" train, then the West 4th Street (S) Shuttle to Broadway-Lafayette down to the Zinc Bar. I kept apologizing about getting him there late and Jim was cool as a cucumber and as it turned out we were only a few minutes "fashionably" late. We heard two poets (I'm sure Jim will supply the names, Andrea , who works in London and says "zed" instead of "zee.") both of whose work I enjoyed. There were a few bloggers there: Brian Kim Stefans, Drew Gardner and Cori Copp, who I met for the first time, but didn't have a chance to talk with very much. Would love to go hear her, Rachel Levitsky and Garret Kallenberg on Tuesday night. Counting Jim and I, bloggers made up a good percentage of the audience at the Zinc tonight, more than half. Douglas Rothschild had a cold, but was as weirdly entertaining as ever. Before we left the Zinc bar, Jim asked me to take care of his Yankee hat. I guess he didn't want to be seen wearing it or carrying it around in Boston. Especially late at night when lots of drunk Red Sox fans will be staulking the streets of Chinatown looking to beat up guys with Yankee hats where Jim's bus will be dropping him off about 1:30 am. Waiting for the bus I told Jim about my friend Jerome Sala, who also has a ms. with SoftSkull press. Jim may be planning to come back for a Mets game next Saturday and if this happens, I plan to go. Later next Saturday also planning to go to the Bowery Poetry Club to hear Lee Ann Brown sing with four of her friends. That will be a treat! Saw some videos at the book party for Laynie Browne and Hannah Weiner's new books on Saturday at the BPC. Also a terrific video made when Lee Ann was 9 months pregnant with beautiful photography of Lee Ann dressed in white costumes that reminded me of Frida Kahlo in front of mirrors and with great music by DJ Spooky. Laynie Browne' lovely new book "Pollen Memory" (which is graced with a drawing of tiny gloved hands reaching out from flowers by Toni Simon) was being celebrated, with generous portions of pita bread and later, a cake. Even heard a nice band, with a singer named Morley and I bought her CD which she signed: "peace, love and music," which I enjoyed listening to on the way home on the subway, after leaving Jim at the bustop in Chinatown.
Check out the two audioblogs Jim and I did at Yankee Stadium today on Uncle Miltie Behrle
Hey Jim: See you "on the blog..." .